Jerome, Arizona (Yavapai) Technical Rating: 1-2
Last Updated: 08-09-2017
Prescott National Forest
Jerome-Perkinsville Road Highlights
Between the historic mining town of Jerome and the ranches of Perkinsville, Arizona is a road that was once partially a route for a railway to carry copper and other precious metals and minerals from the Jerome mine. Today this road - also known as Forest Road 318 or Yavapai County Road 72 - is maintained as a county road. You'll want to spend some time in Jerome exploring this historic town, but then you can head northwest towards the sparsely populated ranching town of Perkinsville. From Perkinsville you can also head north to William, or west to Chino.
Along the route you can get amazing views of the Mogollon Rim, the striking reds of Red Rock Country, and the rolling desert hills just east of Chino Valley. You also get to drive along side the Woodchute Mountain Wilderness Area on the southern portion of this trail.
Technical rating: (1-2) Easy
Dirt road. Dry, or less than 3" water crossing depth. Some ruts. Slight grades, up to 10 degrees. 2WD under most conditions. Rain or snow may make 4WD necessary. Usually one and a half to two vehicles wide.
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Directions to Trailhead
From within the old mining town of Jerome, Arizona along Highway 89A, find the fire station downtown. Adjacent to the fire station is Perkinsville Road heading west towards the Gold King Mine & Ghost Town. There's an excellent large parking lot just a short distance down this road for airing down. A short distance further the dirt starts just as you are passing the Gold King Mine & Ghost Town.
At the other end of the trail, it's the only public road in all of Perkinsville. You can't miss it.
This is a county maintained dirt road, with half of it being a winding shelf road and the other half winding through a hilly wilderness. Most vehicles will not have any problems on this road, though low clearance vehicles are not advisable. When the road is wet, four-wheel drive may be needed. Snow is also possible during winter months.
1: Trailhead (0.0mi)
The pavement ends and the dirt begins at the Gold King Mine & Ghost Town. If you have some extra time and cash, you might find this attraction interesting.
2: Old Mine Road (No Access) (0.7mi)
You'll find some old mining roads blocked off at this point. It's also at the top of a hill where you can get some good views of the town below, and especially of the Gold King Mine & Ghost Town.
3: FR500 E (1.6mi)
Continuing straight on Perkinsville Road isn't hard, as FR 500E is an easy one to miss. It's still marked as a trail on the MVUM, but doesn't look like it's been maintained in a while.
4: FR 500B (2.8mi)
Continue straight past FR 500B. This north bound trail is right next to a cattle guard, but if your not looking for it, can easily be missed.
5: FR 155 (6.0mi)
Continue straight past FR 155. This forest road heads north towards the Antelope Hills, and Bakers Pass Tank. With it's sudden slope off the main road, it too can easily be missed if you aren't paying attention.
6: FR 318A (6.9mi)
Continue straight on the main road past this intersection. FR 318A will take you southwest to Smiley Rock, and might also be a more direct, but rougher, route to the town of Chino.
7: Guard & Power (8.8mi)
Stay on the main road as you go under these high voltage power lines. If you get out and listen quietly, you can hear them crackle and hum. There's also a couple of trails going off to either side, but they are not officially designated on the forest service maps, and should be considered off-limits. There are also a lot of ranches in this area, so they may also be on private property.
8: FR 9001X (12.3mi)
Continue straight past these side roads. Here you'll find a couple more trails heading off on both side of the main road; however, only the one heading west is an open forest road while the other is clearly marked as closed.
Dispersed Camping is allowed along forest road 9001X.
9: FR 9899D Bypass (13.1mi)
Stay straight to continue to Perkinsville. If you're goal is to get to Chino, you can turn west as the road signs indicate.
Dispersed camping is allowed along forest road 9899D.
10: FR 70 Chino-Perkinsville Road (14.8mi)
Continue straight (north) into Perkinsville, or head southwest if you want to get to Chino.
11: Verde River Bridge (15.3mi)
This is an old iconic one-lane bridge you get to cross as you go over one of Arizona's longest and most prominent rivers: The Verde River.
12: FR 9004W (15.4mi)
Turn east into Perkinsville at this intersection. You'll now be on FR 9004W which does allow for dispersed camping, but with fire restrictions.
Camping and Lodging
There aren't any camping areas directly off Jerome-Perkinsville Road, but most of the connecting forest roads allow for dispersed camping. There are also some very unique lodging options within Jerome. You might want to consider staying at the haunted Jerome Ghost Hotel for a thrilling night, or the Jerome Grand Hotel. There's also the Mile High Grill and Inn and plenty of other great places to eat within the old historic mining town.